The 1943 5-pengo design does look like LBJ but actually is Admiral Miklós Horthy. Some of the Turkish coins with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s bust also resemble Johnson.
What’s the purpose of the rim on a coin?
Two purposes are generally described. The rim makes it easier to stack coins, and the rim is raised to help protect the central design from wear. Interestingly enough, the upset rim on a planchet also serves two purposes. The raised ridge keeps the planchets from sticking together and jamming the feed mechanism, as well as to focus metal where it is needed for the struck rim on the coin.
I have an 1877 quarter in my collection that has a normal obverse, but the reverse only has an engraved monogram. What’s going on?
You are a prime candidate for the Love Token Collectors Club, an active group of hobbyists. These were a popular form of lovers’ tokens back in the 1800s and are avidly collected. Value depends in part on the “host” coin and the quality and amount of the engraving. Sect. 331, Title 18 enacted in 1909 makes it legal.
Why is so much weight attached to the vending industry’s opinion of coins?
Billions of dollars in coins go into vending machines, telephones, juke boxes and other coin-operated devices every year, so coins must be made to work in them without major modifications. Vending machine needs can be credited with the switch to copper-nickel clad coins in 1965 and the scuttling of the 1974 aluminum cent, as well as several other changes in our coinage.
Isn’t there some kind of a law forbidding the Mint from keeping dies and overdating them to use in a later year?
This law has been on the books since 1869, requiring that every dated coin die be destroyed on Dec. 31 of each calendar year. If this law had been obeyed it would in theory have eliminated all overdates, but since there are a number that occurred it obviously did not serve its purpose.
I want to invest in coins. Do you have any specific advice?
This is a question that comes up almost every day on the computer online services and the Internet, as well as from Numismatic News readers. My best advice is to steer clear of any investments in coins until you have two or three decades of collecting experience under your belt. A standard piece of advice is to know more about the coin you are buying than the person you buy it from. Learn all there is to know about coins and buy the book before you buy – or sell – the coin.
I have a large cent that has either 1802 or 1804 for a date, but the last digit is too worn to read. Is there any way to bring up the last digit?
In an earlier column I said that there is no practical way to restore the date on your coin. Denis Loring adds that on genuine 1804s, the reverse die is rotated slightly so that the “O” in “OF” lines up almost exactly with the “0” in the date. This might help even when the last digit of the date is obliterated.
Are there any wooden tokens from the United States denominated in a foreign currency?
The wooden nickels and dimes issued in Holland, Mich., show “Een” (one) guilder and “Twee” (two) guilders. There were two varieties of each, on light and dark wood.
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